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Open letter: Professors warn against planned merger

Professors at the Department of Computer Sciences, DIKU sign an open letter to the Dean of the Faculty of Science arguing against a proposed merger with the Department of Mathematical Sciences, MATH. Here is the full text

Open letter to
Dean John Renner Hansen
Faculty of Science
University of Copenhagen
October 3, 2014

As faculty at the Department of Computer Science (DIKU), we strongly advise against the proposed merger between DIKU and the Mathematics department (MATH). There are no well-founded academic reasons for merging these two departments.

The perception of Computer Science as being closely related to Mathematics is outdated. Although this was originally the case, Computer Science has over the past 40 years developed into an independent research area with a clear academic identity and close ties to numerous disciplines both within and outside the natural sciences. Internationally, this development is reflected in an organizational splitting of Computer Science and Mathematics into separate departments. No top tier universities have departments comprising both Computer Science and Mathematics.

We are concerned that the proposed merger between DIKU and MATH will have negative effects on the academic dynamics and impeed the positive development which both departments have experienced –developments that have placed both departments in the forefront within several research areas.

Moreover, closing Computer Science as an independent department at UCPH will have a negative signal effect, nationally and internationally, that not only will impinge upon our academic reputation but also on our ability to recruit and retain top academic staff and students.

Less than three years ago, a similar proposal to merge Mathematics and Computer Science was rejected by the University’s Board of Directors at Rector ‘s recommendation. This decision had been based on a detailed administrative and academic review. The reason why Rector chose not to recommend a merger at that time was “that cultural exchange and exploitation of academic synergy potential will be easier to obtain in this manner [by a collaboration between two independent departments] rather than by merging departments in a situation where (Mathematics and Computer Science) have ‘en bloc’ made academic demarche”.

The situation is the same today.

Kind regards,

Jørgen P. Bansler, Professor
Jost Berthold, Assistant Professor
Sebastian Boring, Associate Professor
Ingemar Cox, Professor
Sune Darkner, Associate Professor
Martin Elsman, Associate Professor
Aasa Feragen, Associate Professor
Andrzej Filinski, Associate Professor
Erik Frøkjær, Associate Professor
Robert Glück, Associate Professor
Klaus Marius Hansen, Professor
Fritz Henglein, Professor
Knud Henriksen, Associate Professor
Kasper Hornbæk,Professor
Christian Igel, Professor
Mikkel Rønne Jakobsen, Assistant Professor
Jyrki Juhani Katajainen, Associate Professor
Ken Friis Larsen, Associate Professor
Francois Lauze, Associate Professor
Christina Lioma, Associate Professor
Torben Ægidius Mogensen, Associate Professor
Mads Nielsen, Professor
Cosmin Oancea, Assistant Professor
Søren Ingvor Olsen, Associate Professor
Kim Steenstrup Pedersen, Associate Professor
Marcos Vaz Salles, Assistant Professor
Yevgeny Seldin, Assistant Professor
Stefan Sommer, Assistant Professor
Jon Sporring, Associate Professor
Mikkel Thorup, Professor
Pawel Winter, Professor
Christian Wulff-Nilsen, Assistant Professor

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